Two Florida panther kittens found north of the Caloosahatchee River
Posted By Rachel LeBar on Mon, Mar 27, 2017
Photos of one of the kitttens born north of the Caloosahatchee River
A recent head count of Florida's panther population showed an increase from a mere 100-180 range to a range of 120-230 (not including kittens).
"Until now, we had only evidence of panthers breeding south of the Caloosahatchee," said Kipp Frohlich, deputy director for the FWC's Division of Habitat and Species Conservation. "These pictures of a female with kittens indicate that there are now panthers breeding north of the river."
Panther Kittens Have Been Seen Outside Their Florida Territory for the First Time Since 1973
I75 Highway's southern course across Florida(horizontal red line)
is the first impediment to Pumas looking to roam north...Thankfully,
many wildlife over and underpasses now traverse the highway to
help pumas, bears and other creatures to "spread their wings"
Until now, only male panthers have been spotted north of the river, and for decades it was assumed that the females refused or were unable to cross it. But new images of healthy kittens have revealed that the Florida panther population could still be maintaining its unlikely increase.
"[M]aintain, restore, and expand the panther population and its habitat in south Florida, and expand the breeding portion of the population in south Florida to areas north of the Caloosahatchee River."
Primary cause of Puma death in Florida--cars
Florida has become a leader in constructing over and underpasses
across highways like I75 to allow Pumas to avoid cars
"For many years, the Caloosahatchee River has appeared to be a major obstacle to northward movement for female panthers," says Darrell Land, the FWC panther team leader.
"This verification of kittens with the female demonstrates panthers can expand their breeding territory across the river naturally."